My Way

I am getting married. Words I never thought I would type or even say out loud. I’m getting married in like two weeks or so. No exact date has been picked, a dress hasn’t been bought. My boyfriend and I have decided to go to the courthouse. It’s what is right for us. Neither of us have a lot of money, but we know that we want to spend the rests of our lives together. We have talked about marriage in length. Starting a life together is more important to us than spending money on things that I’ll probably forget about in a week anyways. My memory is horrible. Not to say that having a big fancy wedding is bad, it’s just not something we want.

Talking to friends and co-workes about life updates and casually mentioning the upcoming nuptials the first question they ask is “did he propose?” No he hasn’t and I am fine with that. The thing that is more frustrating is the look I get once I tell them he hasn’t. We aren’t choosing to get married on whim. Even deciding to date was very thought out because we both come with a boat load of bagged. Yes it’s nice to be proposed to, but at the end of the day I know that I am loved more than I ever thought was possible. One big special moment doesn’t compare to all the tiny ways my boyfriend has shown me love over the last year and a half and all the tiny ways he will show me he loves me for the rest of our lives.

For some people they need the big romantic gesture, the big proposal, the big ring, the big wedding. These are not inherently bad things, they just aren’t what everyone needs.

I’m getting married in like two weeks, in a courthouse, to the man that I love. I regret nothing. Our relationship has been done the way I do everything else in my life and that’s to the beat of my own drum. So when someone tells you they’re getting married and there wasn’t this grand proposal, don’t feel bad for them. Congratulate them and be excited for them! That’s all I want. I made the choice with my boyfriend to do things the way we are doing them. We love each other and know that we want to build a life together, the good, the bad, and the ugly, that comes along with it and we can’t be more excited.

Drank the kool-aid

I’m getting older. I am way closer to 30 than 20 at this point in my life and I feel like everyone gets to a certain point, no matter where you are on the fitness level, where you feel something needs to change. Moving back to Florida I ended up gaining back all the weight I lost with the personal trainer and then some.

If you know me that would be totally unexpected. Me and working out are not things that play well together. I’ve had semi-successful stints. And that was only because I was paying for a personal trainer and that was the only thing that got me to the gym. When my financial situation changed, there went the gym. Even though there are gyms that are only $10 a month, with no classes, someone telling me what to do, and a lack of motivation I had no clue where to start.

My body finally started changing in a way that was not ok. I was getting squishier by the moment and some parts of my body were doing things that didn’t look so healthy. I ignored those things a little too long.

March 1, 2016 I bought a Groupon for Crossfit. Me Crossfit. I have a really close friend who’s been trying to get me to try it for years and my response was always I can’t do that. There’s no way I’m strong enough to do that. With some encouragement from my boyfriend, who’s been doing Crossfit for about 2 years at this point, I thought what the hell. A month isn’t that long. I may or may not survive, but let’s do this.

Guess what! Even as squishy as I am, I could do it, I am strong enough. It’s been just over a year now and I drank the kool-aid hard core. The things the human body is capable of is just incredible. I also never thought that all I would want to think or talk about is lifting. I get really excited when I met a fellow lifter. Crossfit also spoke to my love language of socializing. I am a social butterfly. Let me tell you the people I have met there have turned into some of my best friends. People I talk to daily like my friend Tara. Shameless plug go check out her blog! http://www.liftlikemommy.com

The other wonderful thing about Crossfit is that they meet you where you’re at. Everything is able to modified in one way or another and for me I check my ego at the door. As long as I finish I feel accomplished. Now all this hard work is changing my body, slowly, but it’s changing. In the long run I really just want to be healthy. I’m not chasing a number as far as my weight or pants sized is concerned. I am however chasing a number where my deadlift is concerned.

At the end of the day whatever you think you can’t do, you CAN! You just have to start and your own fears are the only thing holding you back.

I Feel Skinny

I feel skinny. It’s a simple statement, but it’s a big deal for me. For those of you who know me I refer to myself as squishy. I am 100% okay with my squishiness. I am also the first to make a fat joke at my expense, not in a self depreciating way, just a matter of fact way. I have never been a tiny human and as a way to not let the mean kids win when I was younger, I always beat them to the punch.

I haven’t written about it much on here, but almost a year ago I started Crossfit. Something I never thought I would do or even capable of. Here we are almost a year later and I get mad when I can’t go to the gym, I get mad when I miss a lift that I know I should be able to hit, I get really excited when I get a new PR’d, and then sometimes I’m stuck on I should have tried to get a PR last night (which is totally where I’ve been all day today).

The reason why me saying I feel skinny is a big deal is because the last few months people have been telling me that I look good, I’m strong, my butt looks fantastic (thanks friend who said that!). While I can tell that my body is changing because my clothes fit differently and the amount of weight that I can lift, my mind doesn’t always see that. My brain is going to take a lot longer to catch up to my progress than the rest of my body. Today was a landmark day for that. I have been taking pictures at incremental stages and since today I felt skinny I took a new picture.

The bottom is from March 1, 2016 and the one on the top is from today.

img_8472

I take pictures because it’s a lot easier for me to get my brain to recognize my progress with a visual aid than it is to try and persuade it on it’s own. Now am I actually skinny by society standards? Nope! And that’s okay! While I’ve always been okay with my body even when I was heavy it’s really cool to see my body change.

Now normally I would just post the photo on Instagram with a caption that just said “Hey I made some progress,” but thanks to my friend Tara (go check out her site http://www.liftlikemommy.com) I felt compelled to tell a bit more about my store. For me I’m going to have to play the long game with my mind to make it see that I am making progress, even if it doesn’t feel like at times.

So whatever you choose to do. Track it. When you feel like you aren’t making progress go back and look at where you started. If you’re putting in the work you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Trust/Pride

 

I know that last year I was very far and few in-between with my posts and I can’t promise that 2017 is going to be any better.

Since 2015 I’ve been attempting to do a word of the year. It started with softer and last year I failed miserably with patience. I’m probably just as impatient as ever, but I’m learning to follow the plot twists life throws my way a bit better.

I didn’t think I would pick a word for 2017. As 2016 was coming to a end I contemplated a new word even though I didn’t focus to much on my word for that year. Well this year my word picked me. As I was sitting in church this morning a very familiar and almost cliche verse came up on the screen during a song. Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Even if you’ve never been to church or opened a bible, you’re probably some what familiar with this verse. Then the campus minister started to recap last weeks sermon given about trust and how that’s really what faith looks like.

My mind immediately flashed to an exchange that happened last night while out to dinner with some friends. We were talking about Mario Kart and my one friend mentioned how she only likes the Donkey Kong game I have. I told her I had sold it (and all my SNES stuff) in November in order to pay rent. My boyfriend was quick to snip that if I had only asked him for help that I wouldn’t have had to sell my things to make rent.

We all know that the struggle can be real. It can be even realer (yes, I know this is poor grammar) when you are stubborn or super independent (read both words are prideful). I am both. To a fault. Looking back over the last year I wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for my wonderful boyfriend. There are countless times that the only reason I had food/games/could afford to do anything was because of him. I am so undeniably grateful for that. 2017 there will probably be the same financially for me. When you’re a full-time student who works part-time at a church money isn’t something I am swimming in.

A word didn’t really pick me this year it was more of a phrase: Truth over pride.

This year I will try and trust. Trust that God really does have a plan for me. Trust that I really don’t have to do it on my own. Trust that if God provides for the flowers and the birds that He really will take care of me.

2017 you’re going to be a struggle. But hopefully I can set my pride down to trust and make the struggle a little less hard on myself.

The City Beautiful

To say this weekend was weird is an understatement. I haven’t known a more troubling 48 hours in my whole entire life. I am just old enough to remember Columbine, Oklahoma City Bombing, and I very well remember 9/11. I was saddened by these events, but couldn’t fully comprehend them. I live thousands on miles away from where all these horrible tragedies took place. My bubble of safety was not affected and I could move on without much effort. Even knowing that horrible things happen around the world every day, I still lived in my little ignorant bubble of this can’t possible every happen to me/near me.

This past weekend a singer was gunned down in a concert venue and a senseless act of terrorism happened in my city. My backyard essentially. This is the first time my bubble of safety has been popped and I’m not entirely sure what I feel. I feel confused, sad, helpless, but also hopeful. I know that my city will never be quite the same again. Partly because we were violated, but partly because of how we have come together. I will never be able comprehend how someone could just kill innocent people.

As I woke up early Sunday morning getting ready for work, learning about the events that had unfolded while I was sleeping, I couldn’t help be a bit weary leaving the house. I was going to work, which just happened to be a place that would have a large concentration of people. Driving the already normally empty streets on an early Sunday morning was a just a bit more strange. I still went about my day as planned because not doing so would let the evil win. Letting fear take over is letting evil win. For me it is one thing to evaluate the things that are important to me and how I approach life going forward, but I’m not going to let this steal my peace. This is my city. A city that I didn’t realize how much I loved and how much I’ve become a part of.

Amidst events such as these, it’s how people come together that restores our faith in humanity. While trying to figure out what can I do to help in a situation like this, a co-worker came up to me and said that we were going to start collecting items to make care packages for the families and friends who were sitting around in hospital waiting rooms. The goal was to make 100. When I left work we were easily at 200 bags and still going. I’m in awe at the quickness of response and the volume of items that were brought in by my church congregation. It’s these moments that give us hope and let us know that love always wins.

While I know it will still be a few more days or possibly weeks before I fully process this, I was given some hope back today. I’m grateful for my community standing together.

Update: 700 care packages were made for families and friends of the shooting victims.

Hard

A few months ago I started Crossfit. If you know me, you know that I hate working out. I don’t just dislike it, I really hate it with every fiber of my being. A lot of people tell me that after a while you’ll start to feel better afterwards, that our bodies release a chemical when we work out that typically makes us happy. That has never happened for me. I always feel worse after I workout and typically crash after a work out.

My original intent for this post was the brag about how much I’ve accomplished and how well I am doing with the whole working out thing. I manage to go at least 3 days a week, if not 4. I’ve been really proud of myself. My mindset changed a bit after my workout tonight. I feel really torn down afterwards because I didn’t feel like it was a horrible workout. I struggled throughout the whole entire thing and was basically lapped by everyone else during the WOD. Now I’m usually last, but being lapped was tough for me. I thought back through the workout and was trying to figure out what could I have done better/what went wrong. I could make excuses saying that my back was hurting (which it was) and that I’m sore from the other day (which I am and can’t imagine how sore i’m going to be tomorrow!), but those are excuses. The reason why I struggled was because I was lifting more weight than normal and pushing harder than normal. I realized that I had become complacent at where I was at. As my boyfriend constantly says, “If it’s not hard, it’s not worth doing.” He’s totally right. So while I might feel like it wasn’t a great workout, I finished it. I didn’t stop and that is a victory in and of itself.

It’s been three months since I’ve started my Crossfit journey and it’s become a love hate relationship. Hate because of my already mentioned disdain for working out and love because it’s really cool to see what I’m actually able to accomplish. I mean the human body is just really amazing. It’s also been interesting because while I have no idea what I weigh or how much weight I’ve lost since I’ve started. What I have noticed is that my clothes fit a little differently. In all honesty I don’t feel like I look much different until I compare side by sides from when I started to now. They may be subtle changes, but they are changes.

 

I also wouldn’t be able to do any of it with out the encouragement of my amazing boyfriend and my awesome coach at the gym I go to. I have a good support team.

Basically my whole point of this post is, if you don’t think you can do it (whatever it is for you), you can. It may be hard, you may have bad days, but not every day will be bad and you’ll find your victories along the way.

 

Change

While most everyone went back to reality after the holidays, I decided to bypass that for one more week and went on vacation. From a work standpoint, it probably wasn’t the best decision. I’ve spent this last week just trying to catch up and haven’t made a huge dent. For my well being it was a very good decision though. I got to see family and friends that I haven’t seen in a really long time and that’s just good for anyone.

During one morning while in Columbia, SC I was driving around looking for a place to have some alone time with God. I went to the forest, but apparently they had added some buildings and had some sort of training going on that morning. The forest was a no go. I thought ok I’ll go over to the damn and walk across it and sit on the shore of Lake Murray. Well where I normally parked was closed. That was a no go. I ended up just driving around town.

Driving around town, ended up being the perfect thing for me. It had been two years since I had last visited Columbia and four years since I had moved away. It looked exactly the same. Yeah some businesses had closed and new ones moved into their places, but it was the same. I started to think about what I would have been like if I stayed. Would I have been the same depressed, work-a-holic, bar frequenter that I was then or would I have some how managed to come back into the arms of God there? I honestly think the former would have been the case. I would have kept my old habits the same, my friends the same, my lifestyle the same. The only thing that might have changed is that I would have sunk deeper into depression, working too much, and drinking too much. I can’t even fathom that that was my life at one point.

It just shows you that when you seek God, even just a little bit he does BIG, BIG things. I didn’t know at the time that the nagging for me to get out was God moving in me. I’m very glad I listened. I couldn’t imagine not having the life I have now. I am fully committed to seeking God, I have wonderful community, a great job, back in school, and a budding relationship. I was a child back then, thinking I had to make it on my own. That God didn’t care because of all the things that happened my last two years of high school. How child like of me.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

  •  1 Corinthians 13:11

Softer -> Patience

As I’m sitting in my apartment, listening to music I can’t help but think about 2015. After all it’s about 2 and a half hours until 2016. At the beginning of this year I picked a word for the year and tried to live my life by it. The word was softer. Now I don’t feel like I’ve done super well with this, but a dear friend of mine contradicted me. She told me that I’m softer/kinder/more thoughtful that I think I am. When I heard that I was a bit taken a back. If my thoughts are one way, wouldn’t my actions be the same? Apparently not. It goes back to my last post, that when we are given a name sometimes we tend to believe that.

Part of what I hope to accomplish this year is to get away from the notion that I am not soft/kind/thoughtful. That I matter to the people around me who care for me. Thought to be honest, I don’t think I will ever truly be 100% softer.

This year I wasn’t particularly thinking if I was going to pick a word for 2016. Just like last year, one was revealed to me.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:5 ESV

Waiting is something I have such a hard time with. Whether it comes to the next phase of my life, wanting to know what happens next in a show, or what’s in the box. I’ve always been very curious and a planner. I don’t do well with waiting or not knowing what’s to come. What I have realized though, is that I miss out on so much by not being present in what is happening right now. A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that I come from the first generation that grew up with computers, internet, and Google. Our culture has become a culture of instant gratification.

God is never late. God’s timing is always perfect. This year, I’ll wait. This year, I’ll be present. This year, I’ll try (because it’s going to be very, very hard) to be patient.

Love God/Love People

On Saturday I un/fortunately worked a memorial service. It’s the second memorial service I’ve worked in the last two months. Both services I just expected to show up, hit some buttons, and make some money. I walked away with so much more than that.

This year my word has been softer. I feel like I’ve made some progress on this goal throughout the year. But after those two memorial services I really left wanting to be better. To be the type of person that brings joy into other people’s lives. To show them that they matter. To radiate Christ-like love.

While I know that there will always things that I need to work on there are things that I can mediate on thanks to ZVD doing what he does best: teaching us about God’s grace and love for us.

  1. We think God is way hasher and more difficult to please than he actually is.
  2. We are designed to find worth in the infinite.
  3. We are designed to depend on God and when we go against our design we feel purposeless.
  4. God doesn’t need us, He wants us.
  5. Our hearts determine how we live out the story of God.
  6. We are a well written , intentional story, written by the greatest author of all time.

I need to start realizing how true that last point is. I was intentionally made by God. I’ve too long believed the name that was given to me and that I’ve taken up myself: bitch. Now having some conversations with people close to me they always look a bit shocked when I say that word about myself. My friends are so kind in reminding me how well I care for people and how intentional I am with the relationships I foster. I just need to believe it for myself and each day is a step towards that.

Grace

I feel like the unofficial slogan for my church is “It’s all about grace.” And it really is. Except most of the time I believe that it’s not for me. At least those have been the thoughts the last few weeks. I’m not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. I’m not enough.

I feel like people assume that since I work at a church that I have it all figured out and that is so far from the truth. I actually probably have it less figured out than everyone else. I’ve been very lucky that my being on staff hasn’t lessened the amount of engagement I have during worship services. I had a Monday through Friday office role and I wasn’t directly responsible for any worship elements. I could drive up to the place where I spend 30 hours a week and not think about work during that hour and a half of worship God. Until a few weeks ago.

A few weeks ago some changes happened in the workplace like they do and I was asked if I would like to take on some new responsibilities. Enthusiastically I sad yes, not quite sure how this was going to play out. I was excited. This new role meant that I would get the chance to pour into some of our fantastic volunteers, learn some more tech stuff, and have the chance to directly influence something that might change a person’s life.

It started slowly. When I would attend my chosen service for the week I might notice a light cue missed here, a slow transition on Pro Presenter, something out of place, a word misspelled. After a few weeks all I see and think about during service is work. Oh that was wrong or that transition was really cool or why is that person standing there/doing that? I completely un-engage (I’m not sure that’s a word, but let’s go with it).  It became even worse when I made a mistake during one of the services. Nothing that any one really would notice, but I knew that I hadn’t done my job well and that was the end. I hit a guilt spiral and on top of that I started leading a small group and feel so under qualified to lead them.

I’ve spent most of the last two weeks not engaging with God. Not in his word and going through the motions during worship services. Until yesterday. I couldn’t stop thinking about my mess up at work and the ever growing tension of not being able to fully engage in worship these last few weeks. Fortunate for me, my brain has lots of stored up bible knowledge from over the years and I started thinking about Moses and when he was called to lead the Israelites people out of Egypt.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” – Exodus 3:11

We’ve all seen Disney’s Price of Egypt (and if you haven’t you should!) or at least read the biblical account of what happens ;). We know that Moses was hesitant and didn’t understand why he was chosen. Moses even states: Who am I? After all he ran away. We know that God gives Moses everything he needs to accomplish the task at hand. Did he do it perfectly? No. But in the end he listened.

So while I’m not going off to save a people from slavery, I can at least free myself from the burden that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to listen and obey and things will come together. Have I magically fixed my engagement issue? Nope. That’s going to take some time, but I feel I’m heading in the right direction.